Two Months in Wintery Turku – Letter from Erasmus Exchange Student
I am Kristýna (in Finnish, “minä olen Kristýna”) and I decided to complete my internship in Turku, Finland. I have to say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Below, I will explain why.
Gaining work experience at Turku University Hospital
I was placed at the Intensive Care Unit of Turku University Hospital (TYKS). When I arrived at the T Hospital of Turku University Hospital on my first day, I was stunned. The T Hospital is new and very beautiful. Also the level of the equipment and devices at the ward surprised me, as the ward is much more modern than in the Czech Republic.
I had four supervisors at the hospital. In the beginning, I felt slightly insecure because of my level of English which wasn´t something I would be proud of. I also worried about whether I will get on well with the nurses. It turned that there was absolutely nothing to worry about. My English was improving day by day and all the staff members were really friendly to me. I have had good discussions with them. I was enjoying the shifts I made, thanks to my individual tutor´s attitude towards me and the comfortable atmosphere at the rooms. I can say that I saw and l learnt so many things there. This internship has broadened my horizon a lot.
Exploring Lapland and the Turku region
However, this exchange wasn´t just about working in the hospital. I had a few weeks off work, and weekends, of course. As almost every Erasmus student, I went to Lapland where I experienced husky rides, saunas, ice swimming and almost all kinds of winter sports. Lapland is a wonderland and I will definitely return some day. Unfortunately we weren’t lucky with the northern lights there because of the cloudy weather. (Then again, I saw the aurora borealis in Turku, which felt even more emotional because it´s so rare in the south of Finland. I have to admit that I was crying – it is an amazing feeling which is hard to describe.)
I liked the Lapland trip so I decided to attend a cottage weekend a few weeks later. We´ve been playing games in the snow and relaxing in hot tubs in the evenings and I really enjoyed barbecue in the Finnish kota. Thanks to the ESN group in Turku, I also went to see Helsinki and the Fazer chocolate factory where we could eat as much as we could. I couldn´t bear to see chocolate for a week after this.
However, in Turku there is no need to travel far away to see something interesting. There are many places to see in Turku and around. For example, the beautiful city of Naantali with its Moomin Island and wintertime tracks for ice skating on the sea, or the island of Ruissalo with a great sauna situated on the beach and the opportunity to try ice swimming in the sea.
Plenty of activities for exchange students
Luckily I also have had a lot of fun during the work weeks after my shifts. There are many events and activities arranged for students that are worth attending. For example, a typical evening event called “sitz” where you eat, sing, drink and play some funny games with other students. What I really liked was the international dinner where all the students cooked or baked something typical of the cuisine of their countries. I also appreciated the CampusSport card which allows you to attend all kinds of sports and exercise classes you can imagine.
My internship was just two months, but during these weeks I met dozens of new friends and created friendships which will last forever. Now I can visit almost any European countries and have at least one friend there. Isn´t that great? Erasmus exchange is an amazing thing. At the beginning, it might feel difficult to step out of your comfort zone – but when you do it, you definitely won´t regret.
Thank you for all of you who made my stay in Turku unforgettable!